BoardUp Longboard Review: The Ultimate Portable Longboard?
Do you have to choose between a full-size longboard and a portable one? Or, more to the point, should you have to choose? If you find yourself trying to decide between a Penny board and longboard, the perfect solution may just be the BoardUp longboard (check the current price on Amazon).
What separates the BoardUp longboard from a typical portable board is engineering. The BoardUp folds in the middle, exposing a handle that makes carrying much easier than normal. Packing and stowage are likewise simple. But, does it ride? Read on to find out.
The BoardUp Brand
BoardUp is a father-and-son operation based in California. As the
story goes, the family was on a Hawaiian vacation when they noticed a
longboarder struggling to take his board on the plane as a carry-on. Being an
engineer, the father (Bin Lu) soon began problem solving.
After some trial and error, the pair settled on the current design of the BoardUp. Essentially, it is just a normal longboard, which has been cut in half. In the middle there is a plastic hinge that users can lock in either the open or closed positions.
Here’s a short intro video:
Who’s it For?
The target audience here is people who need a portable longboard
but do not want to sacrifice the ability to enjoy riding a real board when they
reach their destination. It is easy enough to fulfill one or the other of those
A small plastic board can tuck away easily, but the ride is
cramped. Traveling with a full-size longboard causes all sorts of headaches,
though the ride is great. Combining the two is a stroke of genius, but does the
BoardUp really do the job? Who’s this thing really for?
The Wary Traveler
By virtue of its design inspiration, it would seem obvious to say
that the BoardUp is perfect for travelers – especially airline passengers.
Folding down to just 17 inches in length (from a full length of 33 inches), the
BoardUp stows effortless under an airliner seat. Upon arrival, you’re ready to
The same is true for virtually any other mode of public transport.
The folding and locking mechanisms on the BoardUp are secure and solid, so
there’s no worries about it opening up in route and becoming a problem.
Unfolded, it is just like riding any other longboard.
The Dutiful Commuter
One does not need to be on a long trip or vacation to get use out
of the BoardUp. It is also well suited for students, as it will tuck away
easily in a classroom setting. Any other commuter should find its foldability
useful as well. Be it an office or a locker, the BoardUp really does store just
Commuters also tend to need a longboard that is both easy to ride
and maneuverable. The BoardUp is both. With cutaways at the nose and tail, the
board turns sharply, aided by conventional trucks with tight, 6-inch axles.
Pedestrians and sharp turns pass by without drama.
Tight Living Quarters
Another subcategory of riders who might find the BoardUp intriguing is those with limited living or storage space at home. Whether it be someone living in a garage apartment or a teenager with only a closet available, many people can relate to living with a lack of space.
A BoardUp can practically disappear in such a setting. Tuck it away under a bed or at the rear of a closet, and you’ll never notice it’s there. Then, when it’s time to skate, the BoardUp is ready to roll with a simple, one-step unfolding process.
Components and Features
Okay, so we’ve established that the BoardUp is a portable
longboard with few (if any) equals. But what about the components? Is it really
road worthy, or is it a gimmick? Let’s check out the included components and
see if it is worth riding.
The first place to start on any complete longboard –
foldable or not – is the deck. Everything else is replaceable and possibly
upgradeable. What you’re really buying is the board. In this case that is a
deck consisting of 7 layers of Canadian maple plus a fiberglass layer, which
adds strength without adding rigidity.
The two halves have a gentle amount of give that prevents
breakage, but you’ll never notice it with the hinge flex. Unfolded, the BoardUp
measures 33 inches in length, which is about the same as the average popsicle
(trick) skateboard. It measures just 17 inches when folded.
The trucks on the BoardUp are a bit unusual for a full-size
longboard. They are all-aluminum, with conventional kingpin placement and
6-inch-wide axles. The wheelbase a bit longer than normal for a board of this
length, which counteracts the usual twitchiness of conventional trucks.
The trucks also utilize a short profile, so the axles are
closer than normal to the deck. While this lowers the ride, it also increases
stability, especially in turns. There are also multiple sets of predrilled bolt
holes for wheelbase adjustment. Users can opt to use reverse-kingpin trucks,
but their height will keep the Boardup from folding as closely.
The wheels on the BoardUp are the usual, unbranded,
high-rebounding urethane for a complete longboard. Their durometer measurement
is unlisted, but suffice it to say they are relatively soft. The ride is smooth
and road cracks or debris are no problem.
When it is time to replace the urethane, users would be wise
to stick to the same (or smaller) size wheels. The included ones are 75 mm tall
and have a 55 mm contact patch. You can go as tall as 83 mm, but any taller
will keep the hinge from locking when the BoardUp is folded.
So, every complete longboard has an Achilles’ heel, and the
bearings are that for the BoardUp. While the manufacturer claims they are
ABEC-9, and they may be, there are issues with consistency. Some users complain
of short lives on one or two bearings in their sets.
Honestly, though, bearings are easy enough to replace. And
the wheels and axles on the BoardUp accept standard skateboard bearings. Upgrading
with whatever bearing you like is a common thing to do for any rider,
especially when purchasing a complete longboard.
So this is where the urethane meets the road for this
particular longboard. The folding mechanism for the BoardUp is purpose-made.
You won’t find it anywhere else on anything else. It is made from aluminum
alloy, so it is both lightweight and strong.
There is a metal plate on the nose section, which a user
depresses to unlock in either the folded or unfolded position. If this plate is
not depressed, the board will not
unlock. It does not open accidentally, and it is as solid as many one-piece
longboards during riding. There is a modest amount of flex, similar to that of
a bamboo deck.
There is also a T-shaped carrying handle, which hides in a
cutout in the middle of the deck when it’s folded out.
Is the BoardUp necessary?
Riders who have little to no need for a storable, portable
longboard may indeed wonder if the BoardUp is anything other than a gimmick.
True, it has the look of a product that solves a problem almost no one has.
However, if you’ve ever tried to put away a 36-inch longboard when no space is
available, you’ll get the niche.
Best of all, you wouldn’t even know that the BoardUp is
foldable when you’re riding it. It carves nice and easy, but with a purpose.
It’s ride is more like that of a board about 36 inches long, mellow but still
maneuverable. The little bit of flex from the hinge actually helps the BoardUp
carve a little better.
Will the mechanism last?
Kitschy though it may seem, the BoardUp is no joke. The
locking mechanism is all metal and all business. It can easily support the
weight of a full-size human. The inherent flex distributes downward force in
the same way as a regular longboard’s flex does, preventing breakage.
Purpose-built from aluminum alloy by and for BoardUp, the
mechanism went through several phases of design and redesign before the
engineer and his test subject son decided it was ready for market. In the end
what you have is an excellent representation of what a small team can
accomplish when it identifies a specific problem and devises a simple solution.
If you’re not thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” you’re
either not a skater or not an engineer.
The BoardUp would be just another example in a long string
of useless but well-thought-out products if it didn’t ride, but it does. The
fact that riders forget they are on a folding skateboard attests to its
success. In use, the BoardUp can stand up to a majority of non-folding
When clicked into travel mode, though, this contraption
proves its mettle. Until now travelers wanting to ride on vacation either had
to struggle en route or while riding. Thanks to this inventive gadget, those
riders can now have it all.
What's up everyone? Almost 6 years ago I have tried out my first board sport – longboarding. Ever since I have been hooked with it and other board sports. Everyday I try to share my knowledge about it with all of you. If you have any questions, comments or just want to chat, hit me up via the contact form.